The origins of National Doctors Day, the day we honor and celebrate our physicians, might surprise you! National Doctors Day, celebrated on March 30 each year, marks the date “country doctor” Crawford Long, a physician and pharmacist from rural Georgia, first successfully anesthetized a patient with ether in 1842. However, the wife of another country doctor, also from rural Georgia, began the celebration in 1933. Just 14 years after that first celebration, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) was founded to support “multipurpose specialists” like Dr. Long. Today, the AAFP celebrates all doctors, but especially our members, family physicians.
At HealthLandscape, an innovation of the AAFP, every day is Doctors Day. At HealthLandscape, we strive to support and recognize the contributions of family physicians by acquiring, curating, analyzing, and visualizing relevant data, including health workforce data. For example, much of our work pertains to geographic patterns of practice location in the context of medical school graduation (https://maps.healthlandscape.org/medschoolmapper/), family medicine residency graduation (https://maps.healthlandscape.org/residency-footprint/), or comparison between specialties (https://www.ama-assn.org/about/research/health-workforce-mapper).
We are also a leader in visualizing community-level social determinants of health. These factors, which include everything from food security to education to access to green space, can influence a person’s overall health even more than health care or biology. Incorporating these data into a medical practice can help doctors understand and anticipate potential barriers to successful patient care.
HealthLandscape supports family physicians in other areas of research and data visualization, and we welcome suggestions. View a selection of our tools at www.healthlandscape.org and let us know what you think. And thank you, doctors!
Chang CY, Goldstein E, Agarwal N, Swan KG. Ether in the developing world: rethinking an abandoned agent. BMC Anesthesiol. 2015;15:149. Published 2015 Oct 16. doi:10.1186/s12871-015-0128-3